BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – We’ve all heard it–whether in a movie or at a family function, someone pipes up and asks the newly-wed couple about when they plan to start a family.
While the intentions of this question are harmless, this week is Infertility Awareness Week and it reminds everyone that sometimes that question can strike a nerve. Sometimes, people are trying all they can but aren’t getting the result they want.
“Infertility probably affects more women than we’re fully aware of,” Dr. Elizabeth Sipusic, an OBGYN with Mercy Health, said. “I think because it’s such a taboo topic that not many women are comfortable with opening up and saying to other people that they are struggling with this.”
Sipusic said it affects men as well, but oftentimes it’s thought of from the woman’s perspective because they are the ones trying to become pregnant, and often seek help beforehand.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, about 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age in the United States experience fertility problems.
“It takes a huge emotional toll on women. Part of that is, I think we need to remember to be kind to all women because we don’t know what they’re struggling with,” Sipusic said.
Sipusic thinks more people struggle with fertility than is talked about. She said if people would talk about it with close friends or family, they might find common ground or even some answers to their questions.
“I think the first thing is going to your doctor and saying ‘I’ve been trying to conceive and nothing’s happening yet,'” Sipusic said.
Sipusic added that there’s a multitude of reasons that a person can’t get pregnant, and going to the doctor for testing or an ultrasound is a good start. If needed, an OBGYN can help through medication and recommend a person to a specialist.
Sipusic also said to make sure a person has a healthy diet, exercises and limits drinking and smoking.